Published: July 27, 2015
Next election may be one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world. DESIGN: FAIZAN

Next election may be one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world. DESIGN: FAIZAN

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will have around 100 million registered voters by 2018 when the next general elections are scheduled in the country in what may become one of the world’s biggest democratic exercises. The estimate is based on the rapid increase in population and the percentage of people getting registered as voters after obtaining their national identity cards at the age of 18.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world after China, India, the US, Indonesia and Brazil. Last year in India, some 550 million people had voted in what was the biggest democratic exercise on the planet. The voting concluded five weeks after the first ballots were cast.

There were 86.1 million registered voters in Pakistan when the country last voted on May 11, 2013, according to the statistics available with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) – the top polls supervisory body that conducts polls and updates the electoral rolls. Another 6.7 million new voters have been registered during the last two years, taking the tally to 92.84 million, though the nationwide voters list has yet to be revised and compiled.

These figures are based on the number of people who got their CNICs in the past two years till May 31 but do not include the voters excluded due to death, nationality surrender or whose CNICs have been cancelled for any reason.

Given the number of new voters making to the electoral rolls every year, it can be safely estimated that the registered voters’ count will cross 100 million by 2018, officials of the ECP told The Express Tribune.

While updating the electoral rolls in Punjab and Sindh for the upcoming local government elections in September this year, the ECP notified that 3.95 million new CNICs had been issued by NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) in Punjab since the lists were last updated for the 2013 general elections. Around 136,530 CNICs were cancelled due to deaths or disqualified voters. Another 1.35 million new CNICs were issued in Sindh while 21,782 NICs were excluded from the electoral rolls.

Around 1.2 million new voters were registered in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa when it went for local government polls in May. New voters have been added with the same proportion in Balochistan and tribal areas.

“If you add up all the new additions to the electoral lists, the new tally would be around 93 million voters. If you go by the same rate, the number of voters in the country will [soon] cross the 100 million mark,” a top ECP official said.

He went on to add that the ECP had put on display the revised voters’ lists for Punjab and Sindh at centres across the provinces from July 21 till July 27. “This was done to make the voters’ lists authentic and remove any anomalies. The people could inspect the electoral rolls and make additions or deletions,” he added.

Voters can still apply for enrollment, deletion and corrections by submitting prescribed forms available at the ECP district offices. The voters’ lists will be frozen once the schedule for the local government polls is notified. Anyone can check their voting details by sending their CNIC numbers (without dash or space) to 8300 through SMS.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2015. 

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